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10 Things LOST Can Teach You About Email Marketing


I am a fan of the television series LOST. And with the series coming to an end this weekend it is a great time to reflect on all the things LOST has shown us and taught us. You may be thinking I’m talking about subjects like destiny, redemption, and faith but did you know that LOST can teach you everything you need to know about email marketing? Follow these teachings and you will be bigger than an Oceanic settlement check.

“All I’m going to get for my trouble is a snappy one-liner. And if I’m real lucky, a brand new nickname.” — Jack

Marketing Lesson: You may have convinced a subscriber to open your email with a snappy one-liner subject line but make sure you follow through in the body of the email with a relevant message.

“If you say live together, die alone to me Jack, I’m gonna punch you in your face.” — Rose

Marketing Lesson: As marketers we frequently fall into the trap of saying the same message to everyone and far too often. So often in fact that customers are sick of hearing it. Testing the use of personalization can give you insight to which message best resonates with each individual customer.

“You’ve got some … Arzt … on you” — Hurley

Marketing Lesson: Poor old Arzt blew himself up with unstable dynamite and you are now covered in his mistake. When something goes wrong, address the issue head on, then clean yourself off and move on. Last week, the t-shirt company Threadless sent me an email apologizing for not including an “unsubscribe” option in their email sent to me that morning. They addressed it head on and moved on.

“See you in another life, brother.” — Desmond

Marketing Lesson: Little did Desmond know how many times he would see Jack moving forward and backward in time. But the marketing point is simple: You never know how long you have before a subscriber leaves you. Make sure you leave a lasting, beneficial impact each and every time. And when you try to win them back, remind them of your previous relationship with them.

“It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.” — Jacob

Marketing Lesson: In the world of email marketing it only ends when the subscriber says it does. Until then, a well-timed strategic email campaign will continually progress them into a profitable subscriber. Whether your campaign is 3 emails or 108, make sure you treat each email as a step forward.

“Doctor playing golf! Wooo! Boy Howdy! I’ve heard everything. What’s next? A cop eating a doughnut?” — Sawyer

Marketing Lesson: Think you have a compelling message to tell your subscribers? Take a quick step back and think about how it will appear in the eyes of the subscriber. Frequently what sounds good in a room full of people who live and breathe the brand will come off as just “no big deal” in the eyes of the subscriber. Break the ordinary and tell a compelling unique story.

“What’s with you? You’re acting like you’re in junior high.” — Kate

Marketing Lesson: Make sure you understand your audience! Write your copy in a tone and sophistication that matches your subscriber base. If your subscriber base spans multiple demographics, segment your list!

“I’ve done everything you wanted me to do, so why have you done this to me?!” – John Locke

Marketing Lesson: Making a subscriber jump through hoops is one thing. Abusing them for it is another. This quote can be applied many different ways to email marketing. Make it easy for the subscriber to act! Avoid decision paralysis with a single call to action. Create a one click unsubscribe! Reducing friction will increase conversion.

“You know, it’s like we’re playing mum and dad to this baby. Yet, I don’t remember marrying him.” — Claire

Marketing Lesson: So you think you have a relationship with your subscriber. You may have added them to your database through a tradeshow booth giveaway, or a opt-in for a webinar RSVP. Does the subscriber remember why they are receiving emails from you? Consider adding more messaging in the footer reminding them how they got added to your list.

“Thats the best bloody peanut butter i’ve ever eaten” — Charlie

Marketing Lesson: Testimonials, when used correctly and on topic can increase conversion. If that’s the best peanut butter Charlie has eaten, you bet I’m going to want to try it.

Using these marketing lessons from LOST will get help you on your path to getting off the island…er…increasing your ROI. And when that response goes through the roof, remember what Mr. Eko said, “”Do not mistake coincidence for fate.”